The idea to start a blog happens differently for different people. For some, they jump right in and minutes later, they’ve got a blog. For others, blogging may be something they consider extensively before taking the plunge. I was one of those people. I debated if starting a blog was the right move for me. Today I’m sharing the questions I wish someone had asked me before I started a blog. If I’d thought these through, my blog would have started out on a stronger note.
1. What will you write about?
What is inspiring you to consider writing a blog? What type of posts will you write? You don’t have to figure this out right away, but having some idea about where you’d like to take your blog is important and will keep you motivated.
When launching this blog, I did something that I think worked very well. I quietly started writing blog posts for weeks and months before I lauched. I knew there was a possibiliy that I would write 5 or 10 posts and run out of things to say. But I didn’t. I wrote 16 blog posts before I finally launched this blog.
So if you really want to start with a bang, start writing, even if it’s offline. Keep your drafts in your email or in word documents. When you finally do launch your blog, it will be easier to get readers faster because there will be a larger quantity of content for them to enjoy right off the bat.
2. What kind of blogs do you enjoy?
If writing and sharing feels natural to you, that’s great. If it doesn’t, one thing that can help you get to that place is to spend some time reading blogs.
I’ve actually found that many bloggers started a blog because after being a blog reader for some time (for me, it was about a year), they just realized “if they can do it, I can do it.”
This will also help you to know what you like in a blog, what you don’t like, and give you some idea of what niche you’d like your blog to be in. If you read all female authored lifestyle blogs, chances are, that’s the kind of blog you’ll want to start.
3. What will the involvement be of your friends and family?
As a blogger, it’s extremely important to learn what your own boundaries are, as well as the boundaries of your friends and family. This is especially important if you are going to be blogging primarily about your personal life.
Before posting anything about a loved one, talk to them directly about it first. Are they okay with being mentioned? Are they okay with their photo being featured?
Aside from this, it’s important to get a feel for how supportive the people in your life will be of your blog. I could not have taken my blog to where it is today without my fiance’s constant support. Having your own personal cheerleader, proofreader, and defender is so helpful in navigating blog world. It would be much harder to blog if he did not approve, something that I know other bloggers deal with.
4. Have you come up with a blog name?
When choosing a blog name, it’s necessary to consider how your blog will grow with you. References to where you are in your life will clue in readers quickly about what to expect but can be extrememly limiting.
I’ve seen blog names referencing the single life, mommyhood, or a specific interest. Will the blog name still work for you if your life circumstance or interests change? Blogs with “daily” or “everyday” in the title imply that you’ll probably post every day. Is that a committment you are willing to make?
Some blog names I really love:
You could also consider using your full name as your blog name. Which brings me to my next point…
5. How anonymous do you want to be?
Once there is something on the internet related to your first and last name, it’s out there. It will probably be seen by every future employer you ever have. Think long and hard about this. How comfortable do you feel with what you are writing being affiliated with your professional life?
If you’re not comfortable with using your first and last name, consider using your first name only.
Keeping your identity completely anonymous is an option, though it is likely that this will make it harder for readers to relate to you, something that is super important in blog world. A picture and a first name does a lot to help connect you to your readers.
6. Is your blog name available?
Before you launch your new blog, Google it. Make sure that a blog with the same name doesn’t already exist. If it does, pick another name.
Now head to a domain name registrar like GoDaddy and check to see if the domain name is available. If it isn’t, consider another name. If you are really really convinced that this is the name for your blog, see if [blog name]blog.com is available.
Once you’ve figured out what you would register as the blog name, check out the availability of the name on social media.
I cannot stress this enough: using the same username on all social media platforms is the easiest way to make your blog more accessible.
People who follow you as @justanexample on Twitter expect that you will be @justanexample on Instagram as well. Make it easy for people to find you by making sure that your social media looks something like this:
pinterst.com/justanexample | facebook.com/justanexample
instagram.com/justanexample | twitter.com/justanexample
See? So much easier.
Here is a tool to check if your potential blog name is available on all social media platforms.
If it is, great! You’ve named your blog.
7. How much of an investment are you willing to make?
This is important as you consider what platform you want to start your blog on. The most commonly used blogging platforms are: WordPress.com (free), Blogger (free), WordPress.org (you pay for hosting for as little as $3.99/month), or Squarespace ($8/month).
I use WordPress.org and I love it. Squarespace is an easy, all-in-one option for those who don’t want to mess around with buying their own hosting. I would not consider WordPress.com, as it is the only option amongst these that cannot be monetized or customized extensively. If you aren’t ready to make an investment yet, go with Blogger. You can always transfer from Blogger to WordPress later if you decide to.
8. Start a Blog Email Address
Okay, so this isn’t a question. Your blog needs its own email address. Using your personal email address for your blog is not something I’d suggest, as the quantity of emails you receive will go through the roof (and subsequently make it challenging to determine what is real personal email vs. blog email vs. spam vs. comments).
In an ideal world, your email address is the same as your social media handles. That might be harder to do. For instance, my email address for this blog is email@example.com, as firstname.lastname@example.org was unavailable. I made it work. Additionally, you can use a contact form to make it easy for people to email you without showing the email address directly.
9. What do you want your blog to look like?
As a new blogger, it’s easy to see pretty blog designs and assume that you need a custom design made. Custom designs are beautiful. That does not mean you need one.
WordPress themes and Blogger templates can make your blog look spiffy and fabulous without dishing out too much money.
10. What is your strategy for attracting new readers?
What’s your thing? What’s going to set you apart from other bloggers? How will you get your blog noticed?
Need some tips on that? Here are 8 Ways to Get Your Blog Noticed.
If you can answer these questions, you’re probably ready to start your blog.
Now tell me, how did you know you were ready to start a blog? If you haven’t started one yet, what’s holding you back?